DOH touts efficacy of jabs after vaccinated Indonesians get COVID-19
A health worker administers a Chinese Sinovac vaccine against COVID-19 coronavirus disease to a resident inside a movie theatre turned into a vaccination centre in Taguig City suburban Manila on June 14, 2021.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

DOH touts efficacy of jabs after vaccinated Indonesians get COVID-19

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - June 18, 2021 - 2:59pm

MANILA, Philippines — Coronavirus vaccines are effective, especially in preventing severe disease and hospital stays, the Department of Health stressed Friday after Indonesia reported outbreaks among vaccinated health workers.

In a briefing, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said real world studies show that all COVID-19 vaccines in the country are effective in preventing serious infections.

“Let’s get the vaccine. Let’s not be doubtful. Let’s give that confidence… Vaccines are among the essentials in combating the pandemic,” Vergeire said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The health official issued the statement after Reuters reported that more than 350 medical workers have caught COVID-19 in Indonesia despite being inoculated with the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech. Most of the health workers were asymptomatic, but dozens were hospitalized.

The World Health Organization approved the emergency use of Sinovac’s two-dose CoronaVac this month. WHO’s emergency use listing gives countries assurance the vaccine has met international standards.

CoronaVac accounts for the bulk of the country’s vaccine supply. Since February, the Philippines has received 9 million shots, including a million donated by China.

Vaccine breakthrough cases

Vergeire urged the public to exercise caution when interpreting the report.

“We cannot deny there are breakthrough infections… But we need to get all the data to analyze it thoroughly,” she said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a vaccine breakthrough infection as the detection of the virus in a respiratory specimen collected from a person more than 14 days after they have completed all recommended doses.

“No vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19,” it said.

Vergeire also said that while more transmissible coronavirus variant may have impact on COVID-19 jabs, vaccines still offer protection against the disease.

The government faces a difficult task of conducting a COVID-19 vaccination campaign as it re-establishes trust in immunization following the highly-politicized Dengvaxia controversy on top of limited supply of jabs. A survey of the Social Weather Stations released in May found only 32% of adult Filipinos were inclined to get inoculated against COVID-19. 

Over 2 million individuals have completed vaccination in the country, while more than 5.5 people have received one of the two doses. 

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